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Perchance to dream”. Personality modifications and criminal liability : a nineteenth-century debate between psychiatry and law

Paolo Marchetti
p. 77-91

Résumés

À la fin du XIXe siècle, la psychiatrie ‘découvrit’ quelques nouvelles maladies, comme par exemple la double personnalité, lesquelles mettaient en question l’idée, rassurante, d’un être humain maître de soi. Cet article essaie de mettre en évidence comment l’émergence de ces troubles du comportement semblait ébranler la vision unitaire de l’homme, que le droit et la médicine se devaient jusque-là de partager. D’après certains psychiatres, même dans le cas des maladies mentales non déclarées plusieurs actions du sujet semblaient être conditionnées per ses forces inconscientes. Ces remarques se heurtèrent à l’idée de la responsabilité juridique affirmée par la plupart des juristes et donna lieu à un débat houleux entre médecine et droit.

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Extrait du texte

Ce document sera publié en ligne en texte intégral en novembre 2018.

Plan

1. Double personality and criminal liability : The Felida X case
2. “Is it true or am I dreaming ?”. The criminal sleepwalker
3. Pathologies of the Will and the Question of Criminal Responsibility
4. The Ego in Pieces

Aperçu du texte

1. Double personality and criminal liability : The Felida X case

Felida was a girl from Bordeaux. Intelligent, anxious, and melancholic. In 1858, when she was fourteen, she began to show strange behavior. She would fall into sudden torpors from which she could not be roused. Later she would wake up again and her personality seemed totally changed. She appeared more good-humored and extrovert. But this state – that Eugène Azam later described as her ‘second condition’ – would last only for a few hours. In the same way as her new personality had shown itself, it would go away, and the previous Felida resurfaced. The phenomenon repeated itself regularly on a daily basis. Over the years, the periods during which the girl fell into her ‘second state’ grew longer, until they lasted for several months. The strange fact is that the two personalities communicated in an asymmetric way. Felida, when in her ‘second condition’, remembered all that had happened in her normal state, but when she ca...

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Référence papier

Paolo Marchetti, « Perchance to dream”. Personality modifications and criminal liability : a nineteenth-century debate between psychiatry and law », Crime, Histoire & Sociétés / Crime, History & Societies, Vol. 19, n°2 | 2015, 77-91.

Référence électronique

Paolo Marchetti, « Perchance to dream”. Personality modifications and criminal liability : a nineteenth-century debate between psychiatry and law », Crime, Histoire & Sociétés / Crime, History & Societies [En ligne], Vol. 19, n°2 | 2015, mis en ligne le 01 novembre 2018, consulté le 29 avril 2017. URL : http://chs.revues.org/1600 ; DOI : 10.4000/chs.1600

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Auteur

Paolo Marchetti

Paolo Marchetti is full professor of Legal History at the University of Teramo (Italy). He has published major works on the history of penal law and Criminology : L’armata del crimine. Teoria e repressione della recidiva in Italia, Ancona, Cattedrale, 2008 ; ‘Le “sentinelle del male”. L’invenzione ottocentesca del criminale nemico della società tra naturalismo giuridico e normativismo psichiatrico’, in Quaderni fiorentini, 2009, 38, 2, pp. 1009-180 ; L’Inconscio in tribunale. Azioni incoscienti e diritto penale. Da Charcot alle neuroscienze, Milano, Franco Angeli, 2014.

Università degli Studi di Teramo
Facoltà di Giurisprudenza
Via Balzarini 1
I - 64100 Teramo, (TE)

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